Types of Dog Training
Although, there are many different ways to train your pet, dog training primarily breaks down into three main categories. Those methods include – Reward Based, Clicker, and Compulsion training. I have detailed these different methods below.
Reward-Based Training – Enjoyable for your dog and helps better the relationship between you and your dog.
This method works through positive reinforcement – i.e. rewarding behavior that we like. Rewards may be in the form of a tasty treat or verbal praise such as “good dog!” in a pleasant tone of voice, to be given when the dog performs the ‘good’ behavior
Reward-based training also involves generally ignoring any ‘unwanted’ behavior. In this way, the dog is not rewarded for any unwanted behavior. If dogs are not rewarded (i.e. receives no attention or treats) for a certain behavior, then they tend to stop doing it. For example if a dog is jumping up to greet people they should be ignored if they jump up and only receive attention (including eye contact) when they have four paws on the ground. Only when they are standing or sitting should they be rewarded with attention and treats.
Sometimes if owners react to ‘unwanted’ behavior by yelling or getting angry they may inadvertently reinforce the behavior – dogs perceive this as attention and the ‘unwanted’ behavior is simply reinforced. For some dogs, any form of attention/reaction from the owner is better than no reaction at all. For example, if an owner shouts at a dog who is barking excessively, the dog may interpret this as getting attention and thus the barking continues whereas it is more effective to try to ignore this behavior. World famous dog trainer/”whisperer” Cesar Millan is a big advocate for Reward-Based Dog Training
Clicker Dog Training – A method of dog training that uses a sound-a click-to tell your pet when he does something right. The clicker is a tiny plastic box held in the palm of your hand, with a metal tongue that you push quickly to make the sound. Most people who’ve heard of the clicker know that it’s a popular tool for dog trainers, but clickers can be used to train all kinds of animals, wild and domestic-from lions to elephants to household cats, birds and even rats!
The clicker creates an efficient language between a human trainer and a dog trainee. First, a trainer teaches a dog that every time he hears the clicking sound, he gets a treat. Once the pup understands that clicks are always followed by treats, the click becomes as powerful a reward to the animal as money is to people. When this happens, the trainer can use the click to mark (identify for your pet) the instant the pup performs the right behavior. For example, if a trainer wants to teach your dog to sit, she’ll click the instant his rump hits the floor and then deliver a tasty treat. With repetition, the dog learns that sitting earns rewards.
So the click takes on huge meaning. To your dog it means: “What I was doing the moment my trainer clicked, that’s what she wants me to do!” The clicker in dog training is like the winning buzzer on a game show that tells a contestant she just won money! Through the clicker, the trainer communicates precisely with the dog, and that speeds up training.
Although the clicker is ideal because it makes a unique, consistent sound, you do need a spare hand to hold it. For that reason, some trainers prefer to keep both hands free and instead use a one-syllable word like “Yes!” or “Good!” to mark the desired behavior. In the steps below, you can substitute the word in place of the click to teach your pet what the sound means, just as you would with a clicker. TV Personality and Dog Trainer Victoria Stilwell is a big advocate for Clicker Training.
Compulsion Dog Training – Sometimes referred to as punishment based training. This technique involves using a negative response immediately following and unwanted behavior. The intended result is that the dog learns that the performed behavior has a negative result. Therefore the dog will not perform the behavior in the future. The most common type of negative response that is used in dog training is a leash correction.
Leash corrections are when the leash is jerked or popped quickly and normally a choke or prong collar is used to cause pain from that pop. Also commonly used are electronic collars which produce a shock or physically hitting or kicking the dog. An example of how this technique is used would be when a dog jumps up on someone. As the dog jumps, the punishment (leash correction, shock… ) is immediately given. The intention is for the dog to not know where this punishment came from but only that jumping somehow caused pain to him and therefore he doesn’t want to jump anymore. This dog training method is not commonly used and many consider this to be cruel and or abusive to the dog.
Online Dog Training Programs
All of these options have proven to be effective methods of dog training. However, you should evaluate all options and determine which best works for you and your pet.